I had a fabulous time visiting Walt Disney World on my own. Halfway through the trip I texted Ryan to say that he needs to do Disney solo one day. To be honest, I think it’s something that every Disney fan should consider trying at some point in their lives. While it may seem intimidating at first, a solo Disney trip can be relaxing, freeing and has the potential to add a whole new level of magic for you.
If you’re planning a solo Disney trip or even just dreaming about it, I’ve got 7 tips for you to make sure your solo trip is a memorable adventure!
7) Meet Characters
Meeting characters is one of those things I wouldn’t think twice about doing with friends and family. On my own, I had some hesitation. That being said, meeting characters is a part of the Disney experience, so I decided to try it solo. I’m not sure why some things seem so normal and acceptable when we’re with another person but alone it makes us uncomfortable (maybe not everyone, but I felt this way at first).
I realized there’s no reason to feel self-conscious about meeting a character by myself and went for it. I really enjoyed meeting some characters one-on-one and now I have photos of just me with Mickey, Daisy and Pocahontas. Something about getting a characters undivided attention really frees you up to play along and enjoy yourself. My favourite moment was meeting Pocahontas. She was very kind and even signed my Pocahontas Magic Band. It was a definite highlight of the trip for me!
6) Take Photos
Document your solo trip with photos…and not just the selfies! Use Disney’s PhotoPass Photographers to get photos in all your favourite Disney spots. I’ll be honest, I had to force myself to do this because I don’t love having my photo taken and I felt a little self-conscious at first but I knew I would regret not having some photo evidence of my first solo trip. There are all the classic spots…Cinderella Castle, Spaceship Earth, Tree of Life, Tower of Terror, but there are so many others to explore. Getting to take photos on your own lets you be creative and anytime you come across a PhotoPass Photographer, you have the freedom to stop and get a few photos taken.
Side-note: it helps to have the Memory Maker for your trip. You can check out our reasons for getting it here. Otherwise, you can ask PhotoPass Photographers to also take a picture of you on your personal phone.
5) Strike Up a Conversation
Visiting Disney alone doesn’t mean you can’t be social. The Cast Members are friendly and great sources of stories and information. I always enjoy talking with the Cast Members along the trails in Animal Kingdom. They’re so knowledgeable and more than happy to tell you about the animals and how they are cared for. I also met some really lovely people on my Disney Skyliner rides.
You know you always have something in common with those you encounter at the Disney parks and that’s Disney! You never know what will come out of little conversations and connections. Your trip can be enriched by simply striking up a conversation with someone you don’t know. A little conversation also helps you not feel so alone on a solo trip and it helps us live up to our ‘Canadians are friendly and polite’ reputation!
4) Use the Single Rider Lines
There are a few attractions at Walt Disney World that have single rider lines. They are Rock ’N’ Rollercoaster, Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, Expedition Everest and Test Track. I chose to utilize the single rider lines for these attractions on my solo trip instead of using up a FastPass selection. This allowed me to get FastPasses for other rides and it saved me quite a bit of time waiting in line. If you’re riding all the rides alone, might as well make use of the single rider line!
It’s important to know that the single rider line usually does bypass a part of the queue, so you sacrifice your wait time for part of the experience. At Test Track, you likely won’t have time to design your own car. At Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run, the single rider line bypasses the room where guests meet Hondo Ohnaka to get their mission. Expedition Everest also bypasses the main queue, so you’ll miss out on some of the background theming and lore around the Yeti. If you have experienced these attractions before, it’s not so bad to miss out as a single rider, but it’s good to know what you’ll skip in the queue.
3) Make Dining Reservations
Dining alone isn’t something most of us do often, so it may feel a little strange or awkward at first. As a solo traveler, I recommend making at least one table service dinner reservation. Even solo travelers get weary and need to stop, take a break to re-charge and relax. A sit-down meal is one of the best ways to do that at a Disney Park.
On my solo trip I decided I would try two new-to-me restaurants. I tried the Plaza in Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Dining in Epcot. I decided to try Tokyo Dining because it was one location where the menu didn’t interest Ryan all that much. So, this was the perfect time for me to eat there.
I found dining on my own was a good time to catch up on texts and emails. I looked through my plans on My Disney Experience and browsed through photos I had taken on the trip so far. Having not dined solo for quite a while, it also gave me the opportunity to really take my time and appreciate the food, the atmosphere and the overall dining experience.
2) Try Something New
Ryan and I always aim to try something new on our Disney vacations and I wanted to continue that tradition on my solo trip as well. In addition to experiencing some different restaurants, I also tried new dishes at the Food & Wine Festival.
The biggest “new” thing I tried was breaking out of my comfort zone when it comes to how I would typically plan my day at the park. Trying new food, attractions we often overlook, checking out different resorts…it’s always refreshing and exciting to step out of your comfort zone. Seeing parts of Disney with new eyes helps keep the magic alive each time you visit, so we highly recommend always trying something new.
We’re usually fairly strategic when it comes to planning our daily itineraries. This time, however, I made the conscious decision to leave a lot of open space during the day. This allowed me to change my FastPasses based on wait times, spend some extra time exploring areas of the park we don’t usually visit, and even park-hop on a whim.
Whether it’s trying new food, a new attraction, resort, it’s always refreshing and exciting to step out of your comfort zone.
1) Be Flexible
This is my number one tip for a solo trip. I think it’s always important to be flexible during any Disney vacation. When traveling solo, it was much easier to accomplish because I felt free to change my plans on a whim.
I had FastPasses booked and a plan for which parks I wanted to visit on which days, but I went into the trip knowing that I could very easily change my mind and change my plans. If the wait times were low, I would hop on a ride and change my FastPasses accordingly. If I wanted to spend some extra time exploring areas of the park we don’t usually visit, I could move my plans around it. I could even park-hop if I felt the crowds were getting to be too much and I saw lower wait times at another park. I could really let myself be spontaneous and flexible at pretty much any point in the day. If I felt tired, I could take it easy and pop back to the resort. If I felt like visiting one park, but seeing a nighttime spectacular at another park, I could do it.
That’s not to say we don’t change our plans when Ryan and I are travelling together, but when you’re on your own, you don’t have to think about it, you can just go ahead. When you’re on your own at Disney, you don’t have to consult anyone else so take advantage of that and do exactly what you want to do! That freedom is one of the best things about visiting Disney on your own so give into your impulses and allow yourself to be flexible!
Have you ever visited Disney on your own solo trip? What would you recommend to someone trying it for the first time? Let us know in the comments. As always, we love to hear from you!